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DBB on 3: Grading the 2018 Pistons draft picks

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We asked our best and brightest their opinions on how the Pistons did in the 2018 NBA Draft.

NCAA Basketball: DePaul at Creighton Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The Pistons got mainly good marks for their moves made for the NBA Draft a week ago. Although one Yahoo felt a bit differently. Those remarks inspired some fire-y (Justin Lambregtse your anger was on point) and funny comebacks (Mike Snyder that was comedy gold) in the comments though so it did provide some great fodder for the thread (highly rec’d to check it all out if you haven’t already).

But back to the most important opinions which of course come from our completely relatively unbiased professionals at DBB.

1. Khyri Thomas: what grade do you give his selection and the move the Pistons made to get him? Give two grades if necessary.

Justin Lambregtse: I give this move an A+. I really like Khyri Thomas as a player and thought he would be a first round pick. The Pistons need cheap players that can actually play and Thomas fits the bill. Second round picks can be bought and are constantly being moved around, so I don’t mind giving up two future second round picks to get a cheap player to help now.

Ben Quagliata: A. Thomas seems like the type of player that Dwane Casey can use right away and he brings some really useful skills to the table. He wasn’t two time Big East DPOY for nothing, he’s a terror out there, and he hit something like 41 percent of his threes so he can be a very useful piece. Like Justin said, second rounders move around all the time so I’m not too concerned about giving some up to get him.

Ryan Pravato: B+ for the actual selection. B for the move up to snatch him. Pistons need better defense in the backcourt and that’s just what they got with this selection. High ceiling for Khyri Thomas on both sides of the court.

Steve Hinson: B and F. Thomas looks like a really solid player, but I’m not on board with the idea of selling off future picks in order to grab a second rounder - especially when that second rounder is set to be fourth on the depth chart at his position. They panicked because a second rounder at a position they don’t need to fill might not fall to them and sold off future picks to land him. Yeah, that doesn’t inspire confidence. Feels very Rob Hennigan-y.

David Fernandez: Going into the draft, I didn’t have my eyes targeted on Thomas. After the Pistons selected him, and since I’ve had some time to digest his work, I’m pretty stoked Detroit landed him. He looks like he can play automatically with an NBA ready defensive skill-set, he’s a solid athlete who’s got a nice three point stroke. Giving this an A-. The move to get him? Since Detroit has all of their 1st round picks moving forward, I don’t mind parting ways with an additional 2nd, giving this a B+.

Jacob Kuyvenhoven: Thomas himself would be a B+ kind of pick, but I’m not as big on two second rounders out the door to select him, so let’s go C. First round picks are much more seldomly traded in today’s NBA, so I think they could’ve done better than Thomas with two second rounders (for instance, that would give you basically any non-star deadline rental or disgruntled RFA you wanted). And if you can get a guy that you clearly value that highly at that slot, why continue the past regime’s habit of trading all your future seconds away?

Lazarus Jackson: Both the move up to grab Khyri and his selection are worth a solid B+. Thomas was a first-round level talent that I applaud the move to go up and get, a (cheap) long-armed defensive-minded guard whose spot shooting should translate to the NBA level. If he ever reaches a level where he can initiate offense, this pick reaches another stratosphere, but even where he stands now it’s a great pickup for Detroit.

Jordan Bellant: B+ for Khyri Thomas and a B for the move. We needed to add some cheap talent and I have no problem selling a couple picks to go up and grab Thomas. I really like Thomas, I think he could be good. We need to put our best athletes on the floor at the 2 and 3. Thomas’ efficiency, wingspan and IQ give him a chance to be a nice complimentary player to Stanley, Bullock, and Kennard.

2. Bruce Brown Jr: what grade do you give the Pistons for selecting him with the 42nd pick?

Justin Lambregtse: I’m not a fan of this pick, so I give it a C-. I understand the idea behind it, Brown is a player who was projected to go much higher, but he isn’t a good shooter and I don’t really see him figuring it out. He also isn’t a good enough ball handler and facilitator to play point guard full time, so I’m not sure where he fits.

Ben Quagliata: B. In the second round you really just go BPA, and a lot of people had Brown as a first rounder, so I can’t argue with that. That being said, he doesn’t project as a great shooter, but he is an athlete. I was a little confused, especially after the Thomas pick, it seems like they’re doubling up. I personally would’ve liked someone like Bates-Diop at 42, but I’m not too mad.

Ryan Pravato: A-. The more I watch Brown Jr., the more he reminds me of Russell Westbrook. Of course, it’s a lite version of Westbrook, but I get a Westbrook feeling nonetheless. Brown Jr. can really finish at the basket and had elite explosiveness. Also has good passing instincts and is defensively superior to most other guards / wings in the draft. I’d lean towards him being able to carve out a role in the NBA even if his shooting never got much better. So, the selection is intriguing in the sense of Brown Jr. actually becoming a decent perimeter shooter. Worth a gamble.

Steve Hinson: F. Nothing against Brown, but drafting a second shooting guard? Seriously? That puts the roster at 33 percent shooting guards!

David Fernandez: This could have been a value grab (best available)? That’s all I see in this pick, especially with the Pistons having drafted, what appears to be a more well rounded version of Brown Jr. in Thomas. With all that being said, the second round is an absolute crap shoot, and I loved Brown’s athleticism, tenacity around the cup, and defensive minded style. Giving this a B.

Jacob Kuyvenhoven: B-. Kind of an average second round pick, maybe slightly better. I like this type of player better than the Hilliard and Gbinije picks. No playing time available at all this year, so stick him in the G League and see what happens. I do wonder about the dearth of wings on the team, but there probably wasn’t a rotation-ready guy for a playoff hopeful available, so BPA makes sense.

Lazarus Jackson: A solid B, especially when you consider the usual value of a No. 42 pick. Brown, I think, sees himself as a big lead guard who needs to improve his shot, and if he’s that that’s good. However, I think the Pistons see him as a small-ish wing player who can act as a secondary ballhandler, and initiate offense on occasion. Brown needs to improve the versatility of his shot (you never see off-the-dribble or pull-up jumpers in his highlights) in order to get to where he wants to be, but as a guy who can rocket off a DHO and get all the way to the rim, he will be useful in Detroit.

Jordan Bellant: I feel nothing for Bruce Brown Jr. When healthy, he showed some flashes. I think he could’ve been a mid first round pick had he played most of last season. There were players I liked instead of BBJ at that spot, but what do I know? I think he’s a G-League All Star in 2020 for the Austin Spurs.

3. What can you glean from this tiny window into the future of the franchise under its new regime?

Justin Lambregtse: They appear to target players with a certain skill set (defense, wing span, athleticism). These are attributes that do project pretty well to the NBA game, so I like it. I mentioned this on Twitter, but if this regime was making last year’s pick it probably would have been Donovan Mitchell based on his attributes as a player and the attributes they targeted in this draft.

Ben Quagliata: They definitely targeted potential 3 & D threats in this draft, positionless athletes that have the ability to defend the perimeter well and hit an open jumper. This bodes well for guys like Ish Smith and Luke Kennard, who can create open looks for their wing players in the bench unit. I’m a fan.

Ryan Pravato: In a league that is very much shifting to positionless basketball, the new regime seems to have a soft spot for intense, high-end athletes with defensive ability and seemingly untapped offensive potential.

Steve Hinson: Ok, I’m going to go on a rant.

I’m not a fan of this draft at all. Has this new office even looked at the roster? Shooting guard is simply not a need. We already have a third stringer making $7 million next year. So spending three draft picks to load up even more? And no, they can’t play point guard. Stefanski’s comments after the draft was that they were both very much shooting guards first and foremost. The entire thing feels reminiscent to the 2012-13 season when the team went into the year with way too many wings, which led to them being unable to balance minutes and find time to see what they had in Khris Middleton. I’ll be absolutely shocked if either of these guys ever get a chance in Detroit. Plus they’re both older prospects and the clock is ticking on their prospect status.

Shake Milton would have been interesting and plays a position of need. Keita Bates-Diop would have been interesting and plays a position of need. Hamidou Diallo would have been interesting and is at least an upside guy.

Second round picks ought to shore up depth at thin positions or take a swing on a high upside prospect. They accomplished none of that with this draft. Ed Stefanski snuck his way into the leadership of the front office and comes with a dubious resume. This draft does nothing to convince me that he’s the right guy for this very important job. I suspect he may be a big downgrade from Jeff Bower.

David Fernandez: Khyri Thomas looks like he’ll fit in nicely as a three and D contributor that can play now. Brown Jr. could build himself into a solid NBA role player as well. I do wish Detroit would have addressed back-up point guard, or the back-up four, but I didn’t see a ton of guys selected after number 38 that leave me shaking my head at these selections. Pistons have drafted for need in the past, and it’s burned them, this is was a draft for talent, and I’m here for it.

Jacob Kuyvenhoven: One trade and a couple of picks in the 30s of guys I didn’t scout much doesn’t tell me a lot. It appears Stefanski is the acting power and will be for a while. I’m not super stoked about that, and this draft doesn’t give me much reason to be any happier about it even if one of these guys gives back decent value on the investment.

Lazarus Jackson: When I gaze into my crystal ball, I see three-guard lineups. LOTS of three-guard lineups.

And a Langston Galloway trade.

Jordan Bellant: I’m not sure if there’s much to glean other than we must have had a good grade on Thomas. I appreciate a front office that is willing to make a move when they see an opportunity. Free agency and any transactions before the season will really give us a good idea.

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What are your thoughts? Feel free to copy/paste the questions and give us your thoughts. Please keep that comment section jumping, it’s gonna be a long summer.

1. Khyri Thomas: what grade do you give his selection and the move the Pistons made to get him? Give two grades if necessary.

2. Bruce Brown Jr: what grade do you give the Pistons for selecting him with the 42nd pick?

3. What can you glean from this tiny window into the future of the franchise under its new regime?